Eye-catching new car park with feature lights and 'living wall' planned for Sunderland city centre

An eye-catching 650-space multi-storey car park aiming to provide style as well as substance is being planned for Sunderland city centre.

By Ross Robertson
Wednesday, 20th January 2021, 12:56 pm

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Car parks tend to be fairly functional buildings, but the new multi-storey planned for Sunderland’s Farringdon Row development site will be illuminated with colourful lights and feature a stunning ‘living wall’ with plant life growing up the sides of the building, if proposals get the go-ahead.

A planning application has now gone in for the building, which will be the latest addition to Riverside Sunderland, a new urban quarter overlooking the Wear.

A CGI showing how the new car park could look by night

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It follows the approval of plans for two new offices – providing some 200,000 sq ft of commercial space – by institutional investor Legal & General.

The application is likely to go before Sunderland’s planning committee in March 2021, and if approved, work is expected to start in the summer months.

Councillor Graeme Miller, leader of Sunderland City Council, said: “Sunderland’s skyline has been transformed over the past 12 months with the opening of The Beam and work continuing apace on City Hall and – as work on two new office buildings and the Holiday Inn moves forward – it’s becoming clear for all to see just how much of a transformational impact this development is having on the city.

“Once complete, it is estimated that the wider Riverside Sunderland development will create up to 10,000 jobs and significantly boost the city centre population with the construction of thousands of homes, providing a huge boost to footfall in the city centre by increasing the number of people visiting, living and working in the city centre.

The new car park, which will have 650 spaces, will feature a 'living wall' with plant life growing up sides of the building.

“Making it easy for people to access the city centre is paramount to this, and the development of the MSCP will be a central pillar in the wider transport and infrastructure strategy to really bring this area to life.”

Cllr Miller said the multi-storey car park, which will stand in a prominent position on the edge of the Riverside Sunderland development, will cater for the increased number of people who will live, work and play in the city, as regeneration advances at pace.

He said the car park be used by workers in new offices that will rise from the ground on the site in the coming years, as well as residents and visitors to the area, and reduce pressure on other city centre parking such as St Mary’s.

It will also ensure there is enough parking space for an expected surge in people heading into the city on a daily basis when City Hall opens.

The civic building, which was funded by Legal & General along with its two commercial buildings – a model adopted to create a number of public sector hubs nationwide – will be the workplace of around 2,000 people next year, with a range of organisations locating there including Sunderland City Council and DWP, as well as other resident support services.

Cllr Miller said there was a commitment to sustainability on the Riverside Sunderland project, and the car park will include an initial 15% of spaces for electric vehicles.

It is expected the car park will operate outside of normal working hours, to support the evening economy in the city centre, and will operate through a combination of pre-paid permits and paid parking.

Cllr Miller said its position on the edge of the city centre, linked by the Strategic Transport Corridor to Sunderland communities, will also help reduce congestion in the heart of the city, and by consolidating parking in one large facility, the MSCP should help to achieve a pedestrian-priority for Riverside Sunderland.

The news is the latest step forward for Riverside Sunderland, which will provide 1million of office space as well as four stunning new residential neighbourhoods, housing 2,500 people in ultra-sustainable smart homes.

The homes will be showcased in 2023, when Riverside hosts a month-long Sunderland Future Living Expo, a high-profile event which will showcase life in the new urban quarter. UK and international visitors will be drawn to the first of the new neighbourhoods on the former Vaux site

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